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Return to Work

An effective return to work program can control costs by getting workers back to work sooner and safer.

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1. Create a policy statement

Outline the purpose of your return to work program with a brief paragraph. Include employee expectations and communicate the policy to all employees.

Example Policy Statement

2. Find a medical provider

Email to find a local medical provider who will assist you in bringing employees back to work as soon as they are medically able.

Select Provider Program

3. Develop procedures

Create a written document listing responsibilities, steps and necessary forms to use when an injury occurs.

Return to Work Program Template

4. Identify transitional tasks

Brainstorm tasks that can be completed by employees with common restrictions. Consider seasonal tasks, "rainy day" projects and other meaningful work.

Examples of Transitional Work

More Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

A return to work program enables your injured employees to return to work more quickly and safely by providing appropriate transitional tasks. The employee’s participation continues until he/she has fully recovered.

A return to work program is ideal for employees unable to perform their normal job duties due to illness or injury.

A return to work program establishes transitional tasks that are medically approved and temporary for assignment during your employee’s recovery period. By returning an injured employee to work, you can:

  • Promote healing by keeping your employee active
  • Minimize productivity loss because your employee remains on the job instead of at home
  • Retain skilled and experienced employees
  • Lower your experience modification factor, resulting in lower insurance premiums
  • Increase worker morale because your employees will feel productive and valued

A transitional task is productive work in a modified or alternative capacity. An employee who is assigned a modified transitional task will continue to work his/her regular job but with some restrictions. This may mean changing an aspect of the employee’s job or perhaps cutting down on the amount of hours the employee works.

An employee who is assigned an alternative transitional task will work in a different position than his/her normal job. For example: A school janitor is unable to stand for long periods of time, prohibiting him from performing his normal job duties. Instead, the school district has him update the safety data sheet binder.

The benefits of returning your employee to work far outweigh the risk of reinjury. Many studies suggest the longer an employee remains at home, the less likely they are to return to work.

For the most part, HIPPA privacy laws do not apply to work comp claims. You are allowed to see your injured employee’s medical records as they relate to the work-related injury.

Generally, HIPAA permits covered entities like health care providers to disclose protected health information to employers without the employee's authorization if necessary to comply with state or other laws. The information that may be provided is limited to only what is necessary for the employer to fulfill its legal obligations.

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